Is McLaren inching closer to Mercedes?
A split-up between McLaren and Honda now appears to be only matter of when rather than if, with the Japanese manufacture itself admitting doubts about its F1 future.
McLaren executive Jonathan Neale offered an interesting answer to the media when asked about a specific hurdle in the F1 regulations linked to a potential supply of Mercedes power which McLaren is rumored to be eyeing.
Currently, Mercedes already supplies to its own works team in addition to Williams and Force India, so a fourth would require a rules tweak.
“You’re right,” said Neale.
“In order for an engine manufacturer to supply more than three teams it does require FIA approval.
“We are making sure that we maintain our good relationships with FOM and the FIA while we work through a difficult situation.”
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The comment all but confirms McLaren’s discussions with the German manufacturer, its supplier of choice although Mercedes have yet to decide if it wants to cater to its rival’s needs.
Neale naturally offered no insight on McLaren’s rumored talks for 2018 which may also include Renault and Ferrari.
But the Brit did concede that McLaren’s current conundrum with Honda, which has failed to deliver on expectations, was not sustainable.
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“I think naturally we reach a point of inflection with Honda where we ask ourselves ‘Where do we go from here?’ ‘What do we have to do differently to restore that level of competitiveness?'”
“In F1, when anybody says they’re not talking to anybody, the answer is everybody’s talking to everybody,” admitted Neale.
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